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PSG take on Lille after Champions League high

Paris Saint-Germain return to action in Ligue 1 after qualifying for the Champions League knockouts in midweek. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

Paris Saint-Germain return to domestic action with a trip up north to play fourth-placed Lille on Sunday, days after nail-bitingly securing Champions League progress.

Luis Enrique and his charges now face a stern test against the 2020-21 Ligue 1 champions following Wednesday’s 1-1 draw in Dortmund, which booked their spot in the knockout stages of Europe’s top club competition.

With their season practically hanging in the balance heading into the clash away to Borussia Dortmund, PSG must quickly turn their attentions back to the nitty-gritty of league football as they seek to win a third straight championship.

The visitors sit top of the table on 36 points, four ahead of Nice in second and nine ahead of this weekend’s opponents, and their form since last losing in September has been imperious.

Lille, on the other hand, have only two wins in their last five outings and just two points separate them from Brest, who head up the hunting pack outside the Champions League qualification spots.

Warren Zaire-Emery, the scorer of PSG’s equaliser against Dortmund, is likely to make his full return to league action after injury and captain Kylian Mbappe can give himself the perfect 25th birthday present, three days early, by adding to his 15 league goals this campaign.

A final test for Sage?

Following last weekend’s impressive 3-0 victory against struggling Toulouse, Lyon and their interim coach Pierre Sage face a daunting visit to third-placed Monaco on Friday.

“The idea is to sustain playing well over time,” said Sage in his pre-match conference.

“Toulouse were a good team. They wanted to play but we stopped them. In the match against Monaco, we’ll have to be good in all areas.”

A second consecutive victory and 44-year-old Sage would stake a strong claim for making his position permanent, something that would please the dressing room based on Alexandre Lacazette and Maxence Caqueret’s post-match interviews last week.

But Monaco come into the match looking to make it three wins in three and the third-placed side still boast enviable firepower with Wissam Ben Yedder, Takumi Minamino and Folarin Balogun, even though five-goal Aleksandr Golovin is suspended.

“When you see the table… third against the last team in the league… we have to be careful about that… it’s not an easy game,” warned Monaco coach Adi Huetter.

Second-placed Nice will seek to close the gap on PSG to one point, at least overnight, when they visit Le Havre on Saturday and Marseille have the chance to continue their excellent recent form with a home game against 17th-place Clermont on Sunday.

One to watch: Alexandre Lacazette

Lyon’s hat-trick hero last Sunday fired his side to an invaluable three points in the relegation dogfight with just their second win of the season.

Having now scored in 100 different Ligue 1 matches, all of which have been for Lyon, Lacazette will likely need to make it 101 if his team are to have any chance of downing Monaco on Friday.

With six goals in 12 outings this term, the Lyon captain’s natural goalscoring instinct was well on display with his finishes against Toulouse and continuing such form will be crucial if the seven-times champions are to avoid the drop.

Standings provided by Sofascore

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